Frequently Asked Questions
How do I enroll my child? +
As a school of choice, Golden Valley is a desirable option for families. We believe that a strong Waldorf education starts with a dedicated, highly-qualified faculty/staff in partnership with a well-informed, committed parent body. The following enrollment process allows parents to educate themselves about our curriculum and school culture before applying. Please follow these steps when applying for a space at one of our schools.
- RSVP and attend one of our Parent Information Meetings (PIM). If you are applying for spaces at both of our schools, you must attend a meeting at each school.
- Complete an Enrollment Application – The application process will be reviewed at the PIM. Please see our Enrollment and Lottery Procedures for more detailed information about the application process.
- During Open Enrollment, a random public lottery will be held to fill available spaces in our classes. Parents will be notified in late-March.
- Applications received after the Open Enrollment period will be held in an enrollment pool. A lottery takes place when a space becomes available in a class.
What is Waldorf education? +
Waldorf education is a multi-disciplinary, arts-infused, integrated approach to learning which addresses the whole child – focusing on academic, practical and artistic development equally. This model of education awakens imagination and creative powers, bringing vitality and wholeness to learning. The teacher’s aim is to draw out the children’s inherent capacities by creating an atmosphere in the classroom that fills the children with interest, wonder and enthusiasm. Waldorf education was created by Rudolf Steiner and the first Waldorf school opened in 1919 in Stuttgart, Germany. Since then Waldorf schools have been established all over the world. Significantly, schools have recently opened in China and grown in popularity within the public school system in the United States. For more information about our Curriculum visit our Golden Valley Orchard School or Golden Valley River School page.
What is a charter school? +
Public charter schools are tuition-free public schools offering a wide-variety of educational choices to parents. Some charter schools emphasize technology and others, the arts. There are also charter schools that offer an educational model that was previously available only in the private sector such as Montessori or, as is the case with Golden Valley, Waldorf education.
Charter schools are governed by an independent Board of Trustees rather than the local School Board. This affords each charter school more autonomy in creating curriculum and developing a school culture. Because they are schools of choice, charter schools are held to the highest level of accountability.
Charter schools see education is a partnership between school and home. Many charter schools expect a higher level of interaction and involvement from parents than traditional public schools. In exchange, the schools provide benefits such as smaller class size, more personalized attention for each child, and a stronger emphasis on character development.
An overview of public charter schools can be found at www.nobulling.com/charterschools.
Why Golden Valley? +
Golden Valley provides a tuition-free elementary and middle school public option for families who desire Waldorf education for their children (our River School is K-8 and our Orchard School will be K-8 by 2018). We are Waldorf public charter school because we believe the Waldorf approach most effectively prepares our students for a lifetime of learning. Our holistic approach integrates the education of the head, heart, and hands. We integrate the arts in every part of the day—singing, movement, drawing, painting, story and drama-with our content-rich curriculum as the focus. We incorporate developmentally appropriate social skills and emotional intelligence that builds virtues such as respect and collaboration. We expand the definition of classroom beyond four walls into natural resource treasures on and off campus.
We serve a diverse socio-economic student population and have aligned our curriculum to meet the California Common Core Standards. Our rich Waldorf curriculum, which is both broad and deep, goes beyond meeting the State of California’s content requirements. Because our curriculum is based upon developmental stages of childhood, the timing of when various skills and content are brought to the children is not identical with the Common Core Standards, but by the end of the 8th grade all standards are covered, including the standards that address technology. Our students graduate from Golden Valley well equipped for success in high school and, more importantly, for a lifetime of learning and contributing.
Why do Waldorf schools suggest limiting media? +
Waldorf schools including Golden Valley believe that direct human interaction and authentic, real world experiences have the most positive impact on brain development in children. Recent scientific research has shown that too much screen-time has been linked to the following:
- Abuse of Drugs and Alcohol
- Breakdown of Family and Community
- Bad Sleep Habits
- Technology Addiction and more…
Too much screen-time is now also being linked to many childhood learning disorders, including ADD and ADHD.
Why does Golden Valley participate in State Mandated Testing? +
State Testing is required by California law for all public schools. Our teachers present the testing in a nurturing way to the children, making it as fun as possible. Although we do cover all the material in the Common Core, we do so on a different time-table from traditional public schools. See our Curriculum section here (link).
What is Golden Valley’s stance on technology and computers? +
Traditionally, Waldorf schools discouraged technology in the form of screen and auditory media for elementary school-aged children (see the FAQ on limiting media). At Golden Valley, we believe that this is the healthiest option for children; limiting screen time and encouraging imaginative play and real life learning builds capacities to imagine possibilities, problem-solve and innovate. However, the State of California requires all students in 3rd-8th grade to participate in Smarter Balanced Testing on a yearly basis. With that in mind, we use computers as a tool. Our younger students are taught basic skills in order to participate in testing, and our older students are taught keyboarding, safe use of the internet and research skills for academic assignments including the 8th Grade Project.
For more information, we encourage you to visit the following websites:
Media in Waldorf – A comprehensive video created by Marin Waldorf School.
Waldorf Resource List – The Chicago Waldorf School has compiled an extensive list of news articles and videos regarding media in Waldorf schools.
Scientific research and academic insight:
Columbia University – Media and brain development in children.
Princeton University – The correlation between violence and media.
American Psychological Association – More on violence and media exposure.
University of Nevada Media Fact Sheet
Sitting is the new Smoking – The Mayo Clinic outlines the ways in which sitting is destructive to the health of both children and adults. Consider that nearly 100% of screen time encourages a sedentary lifestyle.
Sitting is the new Smoking Video – An animated experience for our auditory learners.